Aaron Burr, famous for a duel with Alexander Hamilton that ended his political career, said, “Never do today what you can do tomorrow.”
Burr was an interesting guy and apparently quite the influential procrastinator with hordes of students following his advice 176 years after his death.
“Sundays are for studying” is a mantra that has been popping up frequently of late and driving parents nuts. It's usually uttered by kids immediately following a parent asking, “How about taking a break from Call of Duty/texting/Facebook/Cake Wars and get started on your essay?” Reserving homework for Sunday has become the norm.
Why is Sunday designated as Study Day? Did kids join a secret society where Friday afternoon and Saturday studying is punishable by head shaving? Are they all suddenly observing Shabbat? Do they believe they earned a personal day because they put in so much quality study time during the week?
My son has adopted this regimen, although “Study Day” might be pushing it, it’s more like Study Hour with Earbuds Planted Firmly in Ears and TV On. Since I make my living teaching study skills, seeing this going on in my kitchen is quite unappealing. I keep telling him how lucky he is to have me at his disposal to guide him through his high school years. He thinks I’m insane.
Although I have no research to back them up, I do have some theories as to why kids see Sunday as the day for things academic. Because they are smarter than they appear, kids have learned that if they tell their parents they will do their work on Sunday, parents will foolishly think they mean all day Sunday and leave them alone.
Why this works week after week, I’m not sure, other than that we are ridiculously hopeful creatures. Or maybe we are so exhausted by the constant bickering surrounding homework that doing it Sundays seems like a reasonable compromise.
Kids like, and respond well, to structure. As a whole, weekends are relatively unstructured time so they may unwittingly designate Saturdays for fun and Sundays for work to create that structure. As it is an attractive alternative to actually planning ahead for school, it has spread among peer groups. With everyone on the same weekend schedule it makes kids hone their planning skills by deciding in advance where to hang out on Saturday without the burden of taking school work into consideration.
With all due respect to Mr. Burr, it would be a much better idea to follow the advice of Abraham Lincoln who said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Yeah, what he said.
Sue Schaefer, M.ED., M.A.T., founder of Academic Coaching Associates, is an Academic Coach, Student Advocate, and certified teacher. You may visit her website at www.academiccoachingct.com, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @sueschaefer1